Greatest Magazine Cover?


I spotted this cover at Columbia Heights Coffee. Simply phenomenal on so many levels.  I can’t even look at this picture without laughing and it’s been three days since I took it.  God, I love bacon…

27 Comment

  • it does seem odd that a magazine about vegetarian living would have a picture of a pig on the front cover.

    are they saying that if you go “veg”, you get to live with pigs? i’m lost on the message

  • i think the message is to be friends with pigs instead of befriending them with a couple of eggs and hashbrowns!

  • it is just a guide, they are not saying you have to sleep around with a pig……but you could if you wanted to.

    The thing is, going Veg is not enough, now you have to go vegan

  • Maybe that’s why it’s just “Veg” life. They let you choose whether to go “an” or “etarian”
    Mmmm bacon.

    Though she/he doesn’t seem too plussed to be “friends” with that pig.

  • Philosophical question: If pigs weren’t so tasty, would any of them be around today? I suspect we would have hunted such an ugly animal to extinction.

  • the point is, pigs aren’t food, they are smart animals.

  • Lucretia: Then why are they so damned delicious?

  • Just because they’re smart, doesn’t make them not food in my book. mmmmm, bacon.

  • I love pig – from pork rinds to chicharon to kalua pig to bacon, right down to the grunt of the pig. But I’ve given it up – full tilt vegan.

    The breakfast sammich I just had from Sticky Fingers was delicious – vegan eggz, cheeze, and facon.

  • Here’s what I don’t understand about vegans and vegetarians. They spend a lot of effort trying to make soy into meat-like meals, and otherwise make non-meat (animal product) meals taste like — animal product meals. That sort of misses the point, don’t it? If you are truly aghast at people eating meat then why do you crave the taste of a hamburger? It’s like condemning adulterers whilst coveting your neighbors hot wife and ordering a blow-up doll that suspiciously resembles her and doing naughty things with it. Both are sinful, ain’t they? Admittedly, one is less satisfying, but it makes you feel as if you can act superior and still technically claim that you are righteous .

    It’s instructive to note that old skool vegetarians like Ghandi didn’t cease eating meat because pigs have such wonderful personalities — his philosophy was based on self-denial. Food exists simply to run the body, to gain ANY pleasure from food, under this theory, is wrong. So if you object to meat on a “philsophical” basis, soy burgers are just as “sinful” an indulgence as the real thing.

    The main point being, STOP WITH THE SOY BURGERS. Yech.

  • There are plenty of vegetarians and vegans that don’t eat ‘meat analogs’. I don’t eat meat because I don’t like cooking it and my stomach doesn’t feel that great after eating it. Also I like animals.

    There are plenty of us who don’t go around being preachy and complaining on every restaurant blog about “lack of vegetarian options on the menu”. I also couldn’t give a f*ck about what Ghandi ate. It’s a personal choice.

  • Fair enough, “some” vegetarians and vegans… at least enough to keep Boca Burger in business.

    I like animals too. Especially tasty ones.

  • Sorry I don’t think your analogy makes much sense, Odentex. I am a vegetarian because it’s good for the environment, it’s more healthy for me, and I don’t want to participate in the butcher business (which is not just bad for animals) — soy products don’t violate any of those ideals to the degree that meat does. Not every veg is going to start screaming if they see you taking a bite out of a burger, in fact I would never say a word unless you asked me why I’m veg. I understand that meat can taste good, but i don’t want any. If you think soy products aren’t good, for godsakes don’t have any and let it go.

  • J: Mass crop production is good for the environment? Large scale farming creates all sorts of problems as well, whether it’s that lovely soy bean, corn, or other crops. Feeding 6 billion people weather it’s on corn or beef is going to be hard on the environment.

    True enough that the slaughterhouse is a dangerous place for man and beast, but are you saying it’s more apathetic to the environment than corporate farming in general? What about organic beef raised and slaughtered humanely and sustainably? The problem is that we are never going to feed billions in completely sustainable ways since the yield is far too low, and far too costly, to feed most people. Rich people (like us) can indulge in organic veg or beef, local produce, and even, as I do, raise a veg garden themselves, but that’s not a solution that will impact the commercial farming business, whether it’s meat or veg we all consume. Despite your contention, soy production is actually pretty harmful in a lot of ways very similar to meat production, including destruction of the rainforests.

    I know, I know… the you buy the “good” organic soy. Lucky you can afford it.

    You still haven’t explained why my analogy doesn’t make sense.

    I say if you dislike meat because it makes you ill, like Ontatioroader, that makes complete sense to me. He was right to note my failure to point out the specific subset of Boca Burger lovers who baffle me. If you just dislike the idea of meat (or the meat industry) and only eat vegs, that makes sense too. I hate brussel sprouts and they definitely make me gag — and even if someone made a brussel sprout substitute out of sirloin steak I’d think I’d pass on that. A lot of meat eaters love the taste of veal but are philosophically opposed to veal production — but they don’t go out looking for a soy vealette cutlet — they simply don’t eat veal. They may happily eat corn-fed beef (which, I agree, is slightly illogical), but they don’t search out a veal substitute.

    I say there isn’t much examination of why some vegetarians choose, philosophically, to stop eating meat but still want the taste of it on their tongues. It doesn’t make them bad or wrong or anything, I just find it sort of interesting that they do. Human nature, and all.

    It just seems that if you are a vegetarian because you are philosophically opposed to meat for whatever reason (usually the reasons are much like yours are) I don’t understand why you’d want a hamburger substitute that tries to approximate the taste of a real hamburger. It’s like saying, as an alternate analogy, I’ve sworn off human flesh because I think it may be wrong to eat people, but I have a soy-based Herbert-Burger thawing in the sink for later.

    Mmmm. Herbert.

  • Agreeing with others, I don’t see how eating a fake burger would be bad at all … whether the issue is environmental or, as in my case, primarily about avoiding cruelty, soy beans lack a nervous system and are much less resource intensive to grow.

    That being said, again echoing others, I don’t know a whole lot of vegetarians who eat much of the fake meat. I gave up meat willingly, and I don’t have any particular need to eat something that looks like it. I occasionally serve vegi burgers when I have omnivorous family over (it looks like a *real* entree to them), but I am perfectly happy with my bean-based meals.

  • I’m a vegetarian sympathizer, for sure. Environment, feeling cleaner and lighter, all the benefits of antioxidents, etc. But bacon, sweet bacon. And fried chicken? yum.

    The photo is funny for sure, but pigs are omnivores like us. Let that pink pig wander in the wilds for a few weeks and it will go feral, get thick fur, tusks, and turn mean. then it might even eat that lady snuggling up next to him….

  • It looks like the organization rescues abused farm animals, of which the pig must be one of:

  • DC Chica: It’s The Army of The Twelve Monkeys!

  • Odentex, it seems pretty easy to me. In my experience and opinion there are many reasons to go vegetarian, none of which negate the fact that meat is delicious. Meat substitutes allow folks to have the diet they choose while still eating a meat approximate once in a while.

    What am I missing?

  • Odentex, after a quick internet search I found a journal article from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition which specifically studied the exact issue of soy vs. meat production and found that (with a few exceptions) evidence “suggests an environmental advantage for vegetarian food… on a scale of 4.4–> 100 to the disadvantage of meat” (full text here: )

    Also, the link you include regarding soy being grown in Brazil is neither here nor there — far more of the rainforest in Brazil has been destroyed to raise cattle than to raise soy, and the resulting environmental destruction is a testament to economic forces and lack of environmental stewardship — any food source grown in an unsustainable manner is going to have a harmful environmental impact, period. Since soy and other vegetables require less resources and create less pollution in their production than meat, they have a lower environmental impact than the equivalent amount of meat.

    As to why your analogy doesn’t make sense, it’s because your two underlying assumptions are incorrect — not all vegetarians “are truly aghast at people eating meat” and not all vegetarians “crave the taste of a [real] hamburger.” (I would also like to point out that not all the people who eat fake meat products are vegetarians.) Your argument seems to rest on the idea that vegetarians crave something that “approximates the taste of” real meat, but on what basis do you make this claim?

    My mother, for instance, is a vegetarian who eats alot of the fake meat products and she does so because they are so easy to prepare, and they’re a compromise between her needs and those of my non-vegetarian father. She also spent most of her life eating meat before becoming a vegetarian ten years ago, and fake meat allows her to substitute soy so that she can continue eating more or less the same diet that she was is in the habit of eating (spaghetti sauce with chunks of “meat” in it, for instance).

  • Odentex, How about putting it this way: Do you also take issue with people who drink diet soda? It’s just a healthier version of something you like. (Also please note I never said it was perfect, as far as business practices go [or taste for that matter], just better in my mind for a combination of reasons.)

  • J: A drink full of saccharine or some other substitute is “healthier” than a drink full of sugar? I’d say they are equally unhealthy for different reasons — and for both having caffeine in them.

    I don’t “take issue” with vegetarian that chose to eat fake meat, I just find it curious. Just I find people who are pro-life and also for the death penalty curious (infinitely more curious then Boca Burger afficionados). It just seems to me to be an odd, but totally human, disconnect. I think it’s fine to eat fake meat, or real meat, or no meat… I just find it peculiar that people who are revolted at the process involved in butchery or the idea of killing a animal then don’t associate eating a piece of fake meat designed to taste the same as real meat with the same processes.

    DC Chica: I don’t recall saying a field of beans has a greater impact than a field of cows. Cows are awful on the environment and shutting down McDonalds tomorrow would do more to save the rainforest than any other act. That’s not the point.

    What I did suggest was that soy production, and farm production in general is not void of similar significant environmental impact, including significant land use impacts. As you say yourself “any food source grown in an unsustainable manner is going to have a harmful environmental impact, period.” Soy might be “better” on the earth in some ways on a per acre basis, but you need a lot of acres to have the equivalent food value to beef, and you need a _whole_ lot more acres to have the equivalent $$ value to beef — don’t forget the farmers have to make a living. Almost all of the food we eat on this planet, whether animal or veg is grown this way. If the protein now provided by meat had to be replaced by soy production how many acres do you think that would take?

    Let’s do the math. The average commercial beef cow generously uses about 1/8th of an acre per head (probably less on some factory farms — whereas an organic cow, i.e. grazing grass instead of feeding on corn in a pen, uses up to 2 acres). There are 500K grams of usable meat on the typical beef cow producing approximately 165K grams of protein (33%) per head. That’s a grand total of 1320K grams of protein per acre for beef. Soy yields 25 bushels per acre, 20K grams per bushel producing 8K grams of protein per bushel (40%) or 200K grams of protein per acre. For soy to equal the same amount of protein production as beef it requires about 7 times the land. Multiply that all over the world.

    Commercial soy production is no different from any other cash crop, it has the same pitfalls and environmental impacts. Soy is not a magic plant. Also note that cost is actually the greater barrier than yield, just look at the starvation caused in the last year because corn spiked in price (due in large part to ethanol diversion). Even small fluctuations in staple prices cause mass starvation. Corn and wheat (and yes, soybeans) have to stay cheap to avoid these problems. Sustainability will always take a back seat to keeping costs low, not just because of greed (though that is a factor), but out of global necessity. When we make lifestyle shifts, whether that’s brewing up more ethanol for our lumbering SUV’s, or insisting on other changes to farming to meet our perception of what is right, that effects a lot of people who can’t afford it.

    As far as yield goes it’s always lower when you remove complicating factors such as machinery, pesticide, genetic seed, massive irrigation, rotation, etc., etc. So while organic farming is a nice concept, like other sustainability movements it has a lot of practical drawbacks, especially when you are talking about a necessity like food.

    I’m not saying the organic movement isn’t good or anything, just that we are not going to feed the planet organically unless we are willing to all be paupers to do it and take out loans to buy tomatoes.

    While you are right in noting there would be other environmental benefits to ceasing beef production (less CO2, turning feedstock soy and grain into human food), the idea that land use (including rainforests) would decrease just isn’t accurate. The food has to come from somewhere.

    As far as your contention that someone would eat a fake burger just for the taste, I’ll just let that stand on it’s own merit. Obviously in matters of “taste” reasonable people can differ, but if you want to take a poll on the matter I believe most people would pefer a real burger every time.

    Perhaps fake meat is easy to prepare, as is anything coming out of a box or a bag, but I doubt seriously there would be a fake meat market if not for the vegetarian. I know that our freezer is crumble and boca free since Lil’ Gal lost religion… and I have to say I have never found myself pining for a nostalgic helping of “chunks”. Further, I wonder if your dad really thinks eating chunks instead of beef is a “compromise.”

    Being married myself, I am aware of these “compromises”. 😉

  • Oden, I do think this is pretty easy — some people are veg or vegan *despite* the fact that they like may actually like the way meat tastes. They’re just making a decision not to give in to their desires for whatever reason — environmental, personal health, well-being of animals, what have you. I like having a lot of money, but I’m not going to burglarize a house to get it; I just don’t want money that badly.

    So, some people may love bacon, but not enough to kill a pig for it. Someone posted earlier in this thread that he loves pork but is still vegan. Obviously that’s a person who is making a choice to override his preferences (though I can’t agree with the Sticky Fingers choice — I had one of those cheeze/eggz/facon sandwiches once, and it upset my stomach a LOT.)

    If you don’t want to eat meat for whatever other reason but you still like the taste of it, then that’s when you go for a Boca Burger. If you are veg or vegan because you don’t like the taste of meat, then you forgo those Boca Burgers and tofurky, too. I don’t think it’s as complicated as weighing the cost of producing soybeans vs. raising pigs and all that.

  • Okay, I don’t have time to go through your figures before going to bed, but I don’t think the comparison you make is a fair one on its face — you can’t make that kind of direct land use comparison argument since vegetarians are not simply substituting the same amount of soy protein for animal protein. Also, I couldn’t tell from your numbers, but were you including the land used to raise the feed for the beef cattle in your land use comparison?

    And also, I’m confused that you’re now saying you just find the fact that vegetarians eat fake meat as “curious,” while in your original post you said “it makes you [the vegetarian] feel as if you can act superior and still technically claim that you are righteous.” These two statements seem inconsistent to me, but perhaps you didn’t mean for your original statement to sound as harsh as it did? (I frankly read it to mean that you thought vegetarians to be holier-than-thou, a bit hypocritical, and generally inconsistent in their reasoning).

    In your post from 11:59, you say that “soy production is actually pretty harmful in a lot of ways very similar to meat production” and I was simply providing you with information about how the scale of their impact differs — based on your latest response you were obviously already aware of this, but I read your post literally when you stated they are “similar” — perhaps you meant to imply something different than what I read at face value. And just to clarify, my comment about unsustainability had to do with the deforestation described in the link you provided, I realize that of course food has to come from somewhere, and production is responsive to population and economic pressures, but the question is what will be produced and what is its impact. (I think we agree on the question, although we come to different conclusions)

    And lastly I NEVER say “someone would eat a fake burger just for the taste” — where on earth did I say that? I say that for people who have spent their lives eating a meat-based diet, fake meat is an easy substitute and some people turn to it out of the desire to more or less keep the diet that they’re accustomed to. And I don’t recall making any comment on whether fake meat products are more (or less) delicious than real meat.

    I’m starting to suspect that we may actually be participating in two completely separate conversations, and I’m thinking it’s time to agree to disagree (or cease and desist? in any event, I need to go to bed) g’night!

  • DC Chica: If you are making a philosophical decision to “not give in to your desires” (i.e. self-denial) then why not give up meat completely — including the taste? I mean rather than constructing a whole new consumer apparatus to process the taste for you? Is that such a sacrifice to save Porky from the slaughterhouse? Why not tofu instead of tofurky? Edamame instead of simulated pork sausages? Cottage cheese (sorry vegans!) instead of soy nuggets, chunks, or balls? I just find it odd that people would go to such lengths. And, as I said in the first comment, it’s completely removed from what vegetarianism was about prior to a few decades ago, i.e. primarily a religious devotion of self-denial that had existed for thousands of years (yeah, I know, scew that fucker Ghandi!). You don’t find faux meat on the menu at any southern Indian dining spot… and they’ve had a lot longer to develop such products. Hmmm. Again, I’m not saying I find anything wrong with any of these behaviors, I just find them odd and often not discussed or pondered. Self-denial used to be about self-denial, now it’s self-denial without all that pesky denial (and added Boca Burgers). Curious.

    The point about land use is that you won’t “save” the rainforests or reduce land use if you were to remove meat production from the food chain. I was taking your premise to it’s ultimate conclusion by replacing meat with soy. While meat production may be harder on the same piece of land than crop production is, it takes a much larger amount of land to produce sufficient crops to replace meat and it’s unclear (with the big exception of CO2 production from farty cows) that such a change would really produce a net benefit — it certainly would use a lot more land in the process — goodbye Amazon Forest.

    There is no elegant solution to feeding a population fit to top 10 billion in the near future. That’s just a fact. While some suggest that vegetarianism is clearly an “environmental” solution to food production and I’m pointing out that those impacts are not clearly in favor of such a move and exploding land use is clearly an issue if you remove animal protein from the chain. Currently less than 3% of the US population is vegetarian, if that number increased 33 times, even if you only had to use twice as much land, rather than a factor of 7 or 10 (depending on the crop), the consequences are still there. Simply stating that soy production is easier on the same acre of land is missing the point, that’s all. When you recognize that the scope is not 1 to 1, but a larger number of acres under soy production, the impacts ARE much more similar.

    Regarding cattle land usage, in the olden days it used to take up to 5 acres to raise a single beef cow because they needed all that land to graze and they often had to graze in crappy conditions on crappy land (remember the cattle drives to get cattle to good grazing land? Get along lil’ dogies!), the new efficient force-feeding corn model not only makes fatter, bigger cows, it uses a lot less land — the poor fat buggers can barely move before it’s all over. It’s true that the more you find out about modern beef production the more likely you are to become a Boca Burger consumer. It’s ugly. “Certified Organic” cattle are not corn-fed in paddocks but are allowed to graze (as in the old-timey days), so conversely, Organic Beef has much higher land usage at (at least) 2 acre per head. Organic beef also has to be humanely slaughtered to be certified — but the differences are more differences of scale versus actual conduct, I’d say. To the committed vegetarian dead meat is dead meat. Also, just as with organic crops, organic beef is a decent alternative for rich consumers but the yield, cost, and land use factors preclude it from being a “solution” of any large scale. If we were all willing to pay a lot more for our food it is certainly possible to go strictly organic, but we are spoiled with cheap, subsidized food in this country, and a lot of poor people around the world depend on our cheap grains.

    Honestly, the best way to ensure a positive environmental impact from food production is for all of us to fast and stop breeding.

    BTW, despite what you suggest, bemusedly finding this behavior “curious” and simultaneously recognizing the “superiority” infused in many subscribing to these tenants are not mutually exclusive ideas at all. As with true believers of many stripes such feelings can come with the territory. Simply not attacking every meat eater is not evidence of the lack of such feelings, and the more destructive aspect of these feelings can be an unconscious lack of perspective in seeing the associated harms related to one’s own conduct, or in this case, one’s philosophy about “the environment”. None of this is to say that ceasing the use of plastic bags, composting, or not supporting the meat industry won’t have positive repercussions, but such actions don’t happen in a vacuum, and an American consumer remains an American consumer whether he buys a big box of processed chunks or a big slab of processed beef.

    Finally, I took your point about non-veg’s wanting to eat chunks, disks, or pellets of soy produkt as an endorsement of “taste”, a leap too far? Perhaps. There are other reasons to eat them? High clorestorol? What about lean pork and chicken? Dunno. I suspect far and away the main reason non-veg’s eat them is the same reason your dad does (and I used to), the famous “compromise” with the vegetarian in the house.

    To some this is a “compromise”, to 50% of us this is coded language for “what was I thinking? I had a air hockey table, a ’71 ironhead (in boxes), and a velvet Led Zeppellin poster, now I spend 90 minutes looking at comforters.” 😉

  • another oddity in my opinion “the death penalty’ killing as a punishment for killing? wft?

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